As a little kid growing up in Delhi in the seventies, there were few lending libraries or books, very unlike America. There was a tiny one room library 10 minutes away from my home that carried a few hundred books. I would read whatever I came across — from Enid Blyton, Tintin, Archies, Nancy Drew, Chacha Chaudhry to Amar Chitra Kathas. Many of my generation would remember these fondly, because this is all we had back then as children’s books!
Decades later looking back, I realize how deeply the Amar Chitra Kathas mystical stories touched my consciousness. The visual stories were like watching cartoons on TV (and we hardly had any television programming back then). The library bound five-six of these thin comics into a “digest”, and I can still remember the feel of the hardbound thick books, and the excitement and curiosity with which I would get them from the library.
The stories were fascinating about sages, supernatural powers, gods and goddesses. There was nothing in the stories that was common with the world I lived in. The dresses, huts or palaces or chariots and horses, names and places, weapons and battles; nothing similar existed in my world. Looking at a Amar Chitra Katha now, I feel the language was so arcane, did I really even understand anything? Probably not.
But at that age my mind was not even aware of the fact that I was not really understanding anything. And it did not even care. The pictures and stories were just fascinating and fun to read.
Now I realize that they sparked a deep curiosity about the mystical in my young mind.
I ended up reading the comic version of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita, stories of Buddha and other texts first through these books.They were a sort of informal introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism or any spiritual studies for that matter. They are still fun to read.
Sharing a link to Amarchitra katha website incase you want to check them out for young kids.
Here I am sharing a few of the spiritual books that I have enjoyed over the years.There is no order to the list. What I discovered in my case, that it was impossible to absorb the full import of the insights at first pass. But over many many years, our own life experiences and constant self-observation, and sincere practice can help us connect to the profound wisdom shared in these texts.
- Silence Speaks by Baba Hari Dass
- Ashtanga Yoga Primer by Baba Hari Dass
- Fire without Fuel by Baba Hari Dass
- Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1, 2, 3, 4 by Baba Hari Dass
- The Art of Living– Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N Goenka
- Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
- The Tao Te Chin of Lao Tzu
- One Arrow, One Life Zen, Archery, Enlightenment by Kenneth Kushner
- Lord Siva and his worship by Swami Sivananda
- Various Textbooks of Ayurveda by Dr.Vasant Lad
- The Realisation of the Absolute by Swami Krishnaananda
- Tao: The Watercourse way by Alan Watts
- The Message of the Upanisads by Swami Ranganathananda
- The Zen Teaching Of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind
- Svetasvatara_Upanishad by Swami Tyagisananda
- Bhagvad Gita by Swami Ramsukhdasji